15 years and $400 billion later, the F-35 joint strike fighter is now operational

F-35 program expected to cost more than $1 trillion in its entire lifetime

(CNN) – It took 15 years of development and a $400 billion price tag, but the newest U.S. fighter jet is finally ready for combat.

The U.S. Marines said Friday their first squadron of F-35 joint strike fighters is fully operational.

Other military branches will adopt the top-of-the-line airplane later.

The plane is capable of conducting a variety of missions, ranging from close air support to assault and armed reconnaissance.

The first squadron was originally supposed to be operational three years ago, but that was pushed back because the plane had a series of setbacks.

The F-35 program is expected to cost more than a trillion dollars over its entire life.

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